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LIKE DROPS OF WATER

"Pool" by Hala Auji

When the live decarceration teach-in freezes as Ruth
Wilson Gilmore repeated the words, Organize, Organize,
Organize, the chat erupted in solidarity: youtube is on to us;


this is the message we were not supposed to hear.
And just like that,
across bladed borders and unnamed sorrows, we were all
holding our breath in the same room, watching the intimacy 


of collapse from a safe distance. By now, we must be aficionados
at wafting the smolder of news-filtered grief. By grief,
I mean responsibility. By that, I mean I take after my mother, 


who confuses compassion for a theory of return. The two of us,
we are holding out our chests and running, catching stray hairs
and missed appointments like drops of water. When I say mother, 


I mean labor. By that, I mean our work is only as radical as our ability
to love. In the slanderous sea of it all, the economy cannot market
the smallness of children. Or the birds’ chirp cutting through 


the density of our anger. And yet. I think I am telling a lie, fulfilling
expectations of softness, melons of hope. In actuality, I am obsessed
with dormant cruelty – the phenomenology of bodily compression: 


the prisoners hermetically sealed, the dreams where someone is always
pulling the curtain or opening a door. It’s so dark in here, they say,
laughing like health. She is a woman of course. Shiny. Unburdened.


And in the corner of the room, my mother’s face is blighted.
The houses fill with sand. If the pandemic is a portal, slosh
through its waters without considering grace. We are just 


people. We sleep in and avoid the news. We unabashedly
forget there was ever a Jerusalem to die over, practicing oblivion
for the bewildered hours when God brings us to our milky knees. 

Contributor
Maha Ahmed

Maha Ahmed holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon, where she received the Promising Scholar Award. She is Egyptian but has lived most of her life outside her "homeland."

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Maha Ahmed holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon, where she received the Promising Scholar Award. She is Egyptian but has lived most of her life outside her "homeland."

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